Harold and the Purple Crayon is a childrens book written by Crockett Johnson. The book was published in 1955. It is a fantasy story about a boy who draws his own adventures with a purple crayon, hence the name! When I first saw this book, I thought the idea sounded crazy but when I actually read it to young children, they were amazed and intrigued by Harolds story.
Recommend this product?
Harold is a young boy and the only character in this story. Harold is telling the story and basically making up his own adventure as he goes along. In the beginning, Harold decides to take a walk in the moonlight but there is no moon out so he draws the moon and the path to walk on. He gets bored walking on a straight path so he draws a forest, but a very small one with only one tree so he wont get lost in the forest! In other adventures, Harold finds himself drowning in the ocean when his hand with the crayon was shaking and thus drawing waves. But, he saves himself with fast thinking by drawing himself a boat. He finds himself falling off a mountain that has no other side so he draws himself a hot air balloon! In the end, Harold does find that he is lost and is trying to find his bedroom window. He finds it by remembering that his window always appears right around the moon so he draws it that way and then his bed and he jumps in and goes to sleep!
The text and illustrations
The text in this story is really quite simple. There are about 60 un-numbered pages and each page has a maximum of 20 words but most have even less. The black letters are a decent size for a childrens book. The words are fairly simple though there are some more difficult words such as frightening and delicious.
The illustrations in this book make the book. Harold is on every page holding his purple crayon. Beyond that the illustrations are the things that Harold draws with his purple crayon. When he decides there should be a tree, he draws a tree. When he is sinking in the ocean, he draws a boat to save him. These are all simple line drawings in purple!
Why I like this book
I like the way that Harold is a quick thinker in this story and always figures out how to get himself out of trouble. This is a good model for children to follow. Even though children cannot draw a hot air balloon to save themselves from falling, it still gives children an idea that there is something they can do if they need to. The book shows the creative ways that Harold solves his problems and it may be a good way to discuss other ways to solve the same problems so children can see that even if they dont have a magical purple crayon, they can still do something.
This book gives the reader a chance to use his imagination. With or without the magical crayon, the reader can figure out alternatives to Harolds situations I like to have children draw their own illustrations using this method because it allows for a lot of creativity. Many children I have taught in preschools over the years have made their own books modeled after Harold and the Purple Crayon. It is really neat to be able to decide your own adventure just by drawing it on a piece of paper. It gives the kids a feeling of power.
There is no real lesson or morals to be found in this story but instead children find a sense of adventure. There is some suspense involved as children wonder if Harold will ever find his way home again. Harold draws his story as he goes and this is a unique way of him telling about his adventures!
I would recommend this book for preschool age children. I think it is best done as a read aloud story. Even my son at almost age 2 likes to listen as I read Harold and the Purple Crayon to him. Beginning readers might be able to read the story themselves, perhaps with some assistance from an adult listening as the child reads. Either way, this is a fun book and the pictures as well as the words are fantastic at telling this story!